Shallow Grave

Shallow Grave was written in response to the violent response of the police and army when citizens in Zimbabwe demonstrated against the fuel hike in January. The narrator is the nation personified as woman abused and eventually thrown into a shallow grave, but at the same time the narrator is also the people of the nation speaking against injustice and eventually silenced by fear, grief and despair when they have to bury their loved ones who were killed during the protests. 


You muzzle my mouth 

with bullets that smash teeth

gunfire inflames my tongue

into ash

that fills my orifices. 

My mouth full, I cannot speak.

I am breathing, still.

You weaken my hands 

with whips that rip skin

metal pipes shatter my bones 

into fragments

impaling this flesh.

My limbs broken, I cannot move.

I am still, breathing.

Still. I am breathing.

My body buried, alive I cannot dream.

As red earth pushes me

through a shallow grave

into the void

where words empty

you ravage my corpse.

Fungisayi Sasa is a Zimbabwean writer based in the United Kingdom.

Writing as a means of expression and understanding the world around me has always been a part of my childhood. My family members especially my parents and grandparents always told stories in a rich, vivid way which removed the necessity for television in those precious moments that they recounted a folktale or remembered an event from their lives.

I grew up hearing traditional Shona folktales told by the fire by my grandparents and my father always encouraged my siblings and I to borrow books from the library, so we wouldn’t spend our time in front of the television. This fueled my imagination and passion for literature, especially fiction.

I found the greatest pleasure in crafting a poem about what one of my siblings had done to me or a short story plotting their demise. As I grew older, the desire to create new worlds or convey my thoughts through words never left. My work has appeared on Poetry International, Words Etc {first quarter 2010}, New Voices Wagon Project 2014, and more recently New Myths Magazine. I have also published a children’s book The Search for the Perfect Head and my short stories have appeared in the short story collections Writing Lives {2013} and Writing Free {2011}.